President Biden’s administration has announced a new proposal that pledges to increase the availability of plant-based and vegetarian options at federal facilities.
“Everyone has a role to play if we want to address diet-related disease, and the federal government should lead by example”
The “National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health” plan would, in part, provide greater access to plant-based options at federal dining facilities such as prisons, parks, hospitals, museums and government buildings.
Over 30 members of Congress, chefs, and a large coalition of organizations focused on food, farming, animal welfare and the environment supported the measure. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which backed the proposal, fewer than half of federal facilities it surveyed regularly offer a plant-based or vegetarian entree option. Where they are available, the plant-based options usually provide limited nutritional benefits, the survey found.
According to the group, such dining facilities are not required to provide a plant-based or vegetarian option, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend offering one at least three times a week.
Supporting alt protein
“We applaud the Biden administration for making hunger and health an urgent priority,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs.
The health proposal follows related actions taken by the Biden administration recently in support of alternative proteins. Earlier this month, President Biden included alternative protein in an Executive Order that called for greater exploration and advancement of biotechnology. The US Navy, meanwhile, may begin serving plant-based meats through a first-of-its-kind pilot program next year.
The EWG is an activist group that works to protect environmental health by improving industry standards, and focuses its advocacy on agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, safe drinking water, and corporate accountability.
“The Biden plan makes it a priority to improve access to healthy options, including plant-based and vegetarian options,” Faber said. “Everyone has a role to play if we want to address diet-related disease, and the federal government should lead by example.”